Saturday, September 3, 2022

NASA GDC spacecraft draft RFP release moved to September

NASA’s Geospace Dynamics Constellation (GDC) project intends to publish a draft spacecraft Request for Proposal (RFP) this month and the final spacecraft RFP approximately three months later. In June, the space agency said they would release the RFP in August.

Proposals for the GDC spacecraft are expected to be due 30 calendar days after the release of the final RFP, NASA said in contract documents released this week.

GDC will be composed of six observatories designed to study the local and global effects of the Sun’s activity on the high- and mid- latitude regions with a launch in the late 2020’s.

GDC is a mission concept to study the coupling between the magnetosphere and the ionosphere/thermosphere system, and how that coupled system responds to external energy input.

GDC will address crucial scientific questions pertaining to the dynamic processes active in Earth’s upper atmosphere; their local, regional, and global structure; and their role in driving and modifying magnetospheric activity, according to the project's website. GDC will be the first mission to address these questions on a global scale due to its use of a constellation of spacecraft that permit simultaneous multi-point observations. This investigation is central to understanding the basic physics and chemistry of the upper atmosphere and its interaction with Earth’s magnetosphere, but also will produce insights into space weather processes.

In April, NASA selected three investigation teams to join the GDC mission science team as well as five additional investigations that will be under consideration for inclusion in the mission.

The three GDC investigations selected for flight have a combined budget of $149 million to design and deliver their instruments to the mission.

“GDC will greatly increase our understanding of and ability to mitigate the effects of space weather,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “What we learn from GDC is both critical for missions in low-Earth orbit, and a critical ingredient for understanding orbital debris in that domain.”

Planned for launch no earlier than September 2027, GDC will orbit in the same altitude range as the International Space Station, approximately 215 to 250 miles above Earth.

Friday, September 2, 2022

NASA seeks to overhaul engines on former Army spy plane

A NASA contract to perform the overhaul of four PT6-50 engines on a former Army spy plane is up for bid, according to contract documents released Friday.

The NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) in California owns a de Havilland Dash-7 aircraft for parts located at Davis-Monthan Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) in Tucson, Ariz.

This aircraft is a Dash 7 (tail number N566CC) serial number 76. The aircraft has been stored since 2017 at AMARG and will be moved to the Pima Air and Space Museum for engine removal. NASA AFRC is soliciting information from potential sources for engine maintenance and test cell run.

The agency “is seeking capability statements from all interested parties for the purposes of determining the appropriate level of competition and/or small business subcontracting goals for de Havilland Dash-7 engine repair,” NASA said in the contract documents. “The government will be seeking the most highly qualified firm(s) to perform the required services. Vendors having the capabilities necessary to meet or exceed the stated requirements are invited to submit appropriate documentation, literature, brochures, and references.”

All responses shall be submitted to NASA no later than Sept. 7.

An article by Joseph Trevithick on TheDrive website provides a detailed look into N566CC's past as a secretive spy plane.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Progress made to reduce traveler wait times and delays across Canadian airports

The Government of Canada and industry partners released an update Thursday on the continued action and progress being made to reduce traveler wait times and delays across Canadian airports.

Flight completions

  • For the week of Aug. 22-28, 97.5% of flights planned for Canada's top four airports were completed (i.e., not canceled), an improvement from 95% for the first week of July.

On-time performance

  • From August 22-28, over 86% of flights from the top four airports left on time, or within one hour of their scheduled departure.

  • This is a significant improvement from under 75% for the first week of July and is approaching the pre-pandemic levels in August 2019 where 95% of flights were on time, or within an hour of scheduled departure.

Holding of aircraft at Toronto Pearson International Airport 

  • The number of arriving international flights being held on the tarmac at Toronto-Pearson International Airport has decreased dramatically since May.

    • For the week of August 22-28, 5%, or 109 international flight arrivals, were held on the tarmac, as compared to the peak of 373 during the first week of May.

Passenger security screening wait times 

  • From August 22-28, 87% of passengers at the four largest airports were screened within 15 minutes by CATSA, an improvement from 79% during the first week of July 2022.

    • Toronto-Pearson International Airport: 87% (98% in 2019)

    • Vancouver International Airport: 82% (approaching pre-pandemic levels of 88% in 2019)

    • Montréal-Trudeau International Airport: 93% (above pre-pandemic levels of 88% in 2019)

    • Calgary International Airport: 87% (same as pre-pandemic levels in 2019)

Increasing staffing for security screening

  • Since April,1,837 CATSA screening officers have been hired across Canada.

Streamlining customs processing at Toronto Pearson International Airport

  • To further facilitate entry and expedite traveler processing, there are now 12 eGates, four dedicated NEXUS eGates and 30 new primary inspection kiosks at Toronto-Pearson International Airport.

  • The Greater Toronto Airports Authority and the Canada Border Services Agency have opened a new dedicated International Student Processing area in Terminal 1. This will help further streamline international student study permit issuance and will minimize impacts on the general traveler flow.

In Canada, airlines must follow the requirements of the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, which outline compensation requirements for passengers for flight disruptions due to incidents within an airline's control.

Starting next week on Sept. 8, new regulations will come into effect that will ensure that passengers are offered the option of a refund for flights that are canceled, or where there is a lengthy delay, due to reasons outside of an air carrier's control (such as major weather events, or a pandemic) where it is not possible for the air carrier to complete the passenger's itinerary within a reasonable time frame.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Avelo Airlines starts serving Binghamton, New York this fall

Avelo Airlines announced Wednesday it will begin serving Binghamton, New York this fall with exclusive nonstop service to Orlando and Fort Myers, Fla. When service begins Nov. 16, Avelo will be the only airline offering nonstop flights from New York's Southern Tier to The Sunshine State.

Introductory one-way fares between Greater Binghamton Airport (BGM) and Orlando International Airport and Fort Myers' Southwest Florida International Airport start at $79. Customers can make reservations at

Avelo Airlines Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy said, "We're excited to add Binghamton as our first New York destination to Avelo's U.S. network. Say hello to convenient and cost-friendly hometown airport access to The Sunshine State and say goodbye to long and expensive gas-guzzling drives to those other distant New York airports."

Greater Binghamton Airport's Commissioner of Aviation Mark Heefner, C.M. said, "Service to Florida is something our community has requested for over 20 years.”

New York Senator Charles Schumer said, "I have relentlessly fought to deliver millions in funding to accelerate the Greater Binghamton Airport's modernization– and with this new service the fruits of that labor are taking flight."

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, "Bringing new passenger air service to BGM has been a goal of my administration from day one. With low fares, convenience, and destinations our residents have wanted for a long time, it's a great time to Fly BGM!"

The new routes will operate twice weekly on Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft.

Since taking flight April 28, 2021, Avelo has flown more than one million customers on more than 8,500 flights.

With the addition of BGM, Avelo now serves 31 destinations across the U.S.

Operating a fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, Avelo serves popular destinations across the U.S., including its three bases at Los Angeles' Hollywood Burbank Airport, Southern Connecticut's Tweed-New Haven Airport and Orlando International Airport.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for Lufthansa

The Boeing Company celebrated the delivery of the first 787-9 Dreamliner to Lufthansa Group at Paine Field, Everett, Wash., on Monday.

The Lufthansa Group has 32 firm orders for the 787 and joins nearly 50 customers worldwide in operating the airplane. Boeing designed the 787 family with superior efficiency, which allows airlines to profitably open new routes and fly people directly where they want to go in exceptional comfort.

Using 25% less fuel and creating 25% fewer emissions than the airplanes they replace, the 787 family has avoided more than 125 billion pounds of carbon emissions since entering service in 2011.

"With the Boeing 787, we are introducing another modern aircraft type that is one of the most fuel-efficient long-haul aircraft in our fleet," said Jens Ritter, CEO of Lufthansa Airlines. "This will allow us to significantly further improve the average CO2 balance.”

Since revenue service began in 2011, the 787 family has launched more than 325 new nonstop routes around the world, including approximately 50 routes opened since 2020. The 787-9 version can fly 296 passengers up to 7,565 nautical miles (14,010 kilometers) in a typical two-class configuration.

"Today's delivery to the Lufthansa Group is a significant milestone for both companies as we resume European 787 deliveries,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

In addition to 32 787 Dreamliners on order, the Lufthansa Group has firm orders for 20 777-9 passenger airplanes and recently placed a firm order for seven of the new 777-8 Freighter.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Air Europa, first spanish operator of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

AerCap Holdings N.V. announced Monday it has signed lease agreements with Air Europa Líneas Aéreas S.A.U. for the long-term lease of five Boeing 787-9 aircraft and ten Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft. The aircraft are scheduled to deliver beginning in 2024 through 2026.

Air Europa will become the first Spanish operator of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

"The future is bright for the Boeing 787 and MAX programs,” said Peter Anderson, chief commercial officer, AerCap. “For Air Europa these new technology fuel-efficient aircraft will provide improved cost efficiencies and help them to meet their sustainability commitments.”

Richard Clark, managing director of Air Europa, said, "We are very pleased to reach this agreement with AerCap, with whom we have a long and successful relationship. It reinforces our strategy of unifying the fleet around the most modern, efficient, and sustainable models in the industry. Once again, we are pioneers. Just as we were the first Spanish company to incorporate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, we are now doing the same by adding the new Boeing 737 MAX to our fleet."

AerCap serves approximately 300 customers around the world with comprehensive fleet solutions. AerCap is based in Dublin with offices in Shannon, Miami, Singapore, Memphis, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, Seattle, Toulouse and other locations around the world.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Air Force plans for Radio Frequency Facility to test new B-21 bomber

The Air Force is moving forward with plans to construct a Radio Frequency Facility at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., that will test their new B-21 bombers' stealth capabilities prior to missions. The military announced plans in a Pre-Solicitation Notice contract document released Friday.

The B-21 Raider is a new high-tech stealth bomber being developed to replace the Air Force’s aging bomber fleet.

Designed to be long-range, highly survivable and capable of carrying a mix of conventional and nuclear ordnance, the B-21 bomber will join the nuclear triad as a visible and flexible nuclear deterrent; supporting national security objectives. The Air Force anticipates a swift test and evaluation program for the new aircraft.

On May 25, ground was broken for the first facility that will house the B-21 Raider, a 95,000-square-foot Low Observable Restoration Facility for maintenance. It’s the first of more than 30 projects planned to support the B-21 mission at Ellsworth.

In the Pre-Solicitation Notice released Friday the Air Force said, “On or about 23 September 2022, this office will issue Request for Proposal (RFP) to construct a B-21 Radio Frequency Facility (RF Hangar), Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB), South Dakota.  The solicitation will close on or about 25 October 2022.” The solicitation will include photographic attachments and drawings.

A site visit is scheduled for Oct. 13, the Air Force said.

The contract details plans to construct a high bay special maintenance hangar with one aircraft position and all associated back shops, unique climatically controlled material storage with uninterrupted power supply system, and administrative and facility support spaces.

“This project includes clearing and grading site, storm drainage, aircraft parking and movement area, utility infrastructure systems and all other supporting facilities,” the document says. “Facility functional areas include one hangar bay sized to fit B-2A “Spirit” aircraft with space and configuration to accommodate radio frequency testing on the aircraft. Administrative and support functions are located to the side and behind the hangar bay. The facility contains multiple secure spaces to be designed and constructed to ICD/ICS 705 criteria.”

The contractor will be required to commence work within 10 days after Notice to Proceed (NTP) and complete the work in the proposed number of calendar days (Not to Exceed 900 calendar days) after receipt of NTP.

The magnitude of construction cost for this project is between $25 million and $100 million.

New Alaska Airlines flights between Everett and Anchorage nonstop

Alaska Airlines announced Friday new daily nonstop service between Everett and Anchorage, Alaska, will begin Nov. 30. The flights will connect the newest commercial airport in the Seattle area with another one of the airline's main hubs. Tickets for flights between Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport and the state of Alaska's largest city are available for purchase now on

"We listened to our guests who live and work from north of Seattle to the Canadian border. They told us one of their top requests is a nonstop flight between Everett and Anchorage," said Brett Catlin, vice president of network and alliances for Alaska Airlines. "There's a significant need and demand to connect workers and businesses in the two regions – from the fishing industry to aviation – in addition to the desire for leisure travel."

With the new nonstop from Everett, operated by Alaska Airlines sister airline Horizon Air, Anchorage becomes the farthest destination and longest flight the airline serves from that airport. On the operations side, Horizon began operating a new 74,000-square-foot hangar and maintenance facility on the Paine Field property this year that can accommodate up to four E175 aircraft at a time.

Our guests flying to and from Everett – about 20 miles north of Seattle and 70 miles south of Bellingham, Washington – have enjoyed a convenient, stress-free, upscale alternative airport experience with a lounge atmosphere. Propeller Airports operates the terminal as part of a public-private partnership with Snohomish County. Since our regularly scheduled service launched there in March 2019, we've flown roughly 1.3 million guests to and from Paine Field-Snohomish County Airport.

From Everett this fall and winter, we'll fly to nine destinations: Anchorage, Boise, Las Vegas, Orange County, Palm Springs, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Spokane.

Our sister carrier Horizon Air provides most of our service at Paine Field with the Embraer 175 jet. The E175 features First Class and Premium Class, and only window and aisle seating – there are no middle seats.